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Operate and take care of equipment in an office (114976)

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Telephone, fax, internet

Many small offices only have one phone line and it is difficult to coordinate the use of that line for fax and phone. When phones are used by many different people it is also difficult to control the phone bill. Here are some suggestions:

  • Get a call waiting service on the phone. This allows you to receive or make a call whilst you are on another call. This prevents the phone from being engaged for a long time.
  • Get a record book to record all outgoing calls and together with the itemised bill received from Telkom use it to check that the phones are not being abused. Check long distance calls, long calls to cell phones and very long local calls. Point out the costs to the people responsible and try to reduce talking time.
  • You may need to develop a policy about personal calls and whether they are allowed or not. It may be difficult to enforce and it is often better to develop awareness about cost and discipline among phone users.
  • Get a voicemail answering service from Telkom. It is cheap and will take messages when you are out of the office or busy on another call.
  • If your fax is on the same line, turn it on only when you get a fax call or when you leave the office.
  • If your modem for email and internet is on the same line, try to only use it when the office is quiet since call waiting does not work when the modem is on. It is best to check your email first thing in the morning before calls start and to use the internet late in the afternoon for research.

Computer, printer, copier

  • If your computer is in great demand, try to work out a roster system for when it can be used by whom. Here is an example: Prioritise creative work like writing reports and training materials in the morning. Administration can be done in the afternoon and private use only after hours.
  • If your computer is used by many people, it is very important to get an anti-virus programme and to update it often. You can get a virus from someone else’s disk or from an email.
  • Keep an adequate supply of toner and paper for the printer, fax and photocopier and make sure it is carefully controlled. Toner can cost R500 and paper is easy to waste.
  • Keep a logbook for photocopier usage. This helps prevent abuse and if you charge people for copies it will help you to monitor expenses and income. If you have different accounts for different projects it also helps you with accounting and allocating the copier costs to the right account.

Photocopier Logbook

Name/ BusinessDateNumber of copies madePurpose of copiesSignature

Other resources

If you have any other equipment or resources that people use, you need a system for controlling it. Examples are overhead projector, video machine and sound system. Here is a simple sheet you can use to keep control of resources that may be borrowed and used outside the office:

ItemUsed for what purposeName, address and signature of userDate outDate returned

Safety risks involving equipment outside own work area are identified and are reported to the appropriate authority. Instructions for operating equipment with regard for safety

  • Be properly trained in equipment use before operating any equipment.
  • Perform a pre-operational service check before operating equipment and correct any problems before starting.
  • Read and follow all instructions in operator’s manuals.

Consider implementing recommended safe work practices, including:

  • Make sure employees who operate equipment are appropriately trained and physically able to operate it safely.
  • Develop a “safety first” attitude. Follow safe work practices all the time and set a good example for others.
  • Make sure workers are physically and mentally fit to operate equipment. Fatigue, stress, medication, alcohol, and drugs can prevent workers from safely operating equipment.
  • Allow workers to take frequent breaks. Fatigue, stress, and worry can distract them from safely operating equipment.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions whenever maintenance or adjustments are performed on any equipment.
  • Properly maintain equipment.

Employers have the primary responsibility for protecting the safety and health of their workers. Employees are responsible for following the safe work practices of their employers